Nova Scotia

Homeless in Halifax face challenges during summer months

Homeless people in Halifax say that summer brings its own challenges for those living on the street.

Staying hydrated, staying out of the sun some of the challenges of homelessness

Homeless people in Halifax say that summer brings its own challenges for those living on the street.

When the weather is warm and dry, most people try to spend more time outside — but if you're homeless, the challenge is often trying to find a cool place inside.

Brandon Hennigar and Brittany Fleming spend their days sitting on Spring Garden Road, begging for change.

The two 18-year-olds have been living on the street since they were 14.

They say the biggest struggle is finding a place to sleep.

"Well, we were sleeping on Citadel Hill, and through the night it gets really cold and I'll wake up from shivering. So we went over and passed out in the bank over there and then we got woken up by cops, [who said] 'Oh you can't sleep here,'" said Fleming.

"Pretty much any grass area, any alleyway, cardboard — something you can hide behind so that everybody can't see you," said Hennigar.

Hennigar said he doesn’t like sleeping in shelters.

"They suck. They're usually always full and I mean there's the Metro Turning Point but there's too many drugs there and I don't feel like getting into that," he said.

For people who do choose to sleep in shelters, it's usually easier to get a bed in the summer.

Metro Turning Point has been 85 per cent full this week. The women’s shelter, Barry House, has about the same vacancy rate.

Monica Flinn, a registered nurse with Mobile Outreach Street Health, said the most important thing for homeless people this time of year is staying hydrated.

"The effects of heat can be a real problem for people who spend a lot of time on the street or who are actually living on the street," said Flinn.

Another common complaint is sore feet.

"From walking so much, my feet crack and they start to bleed. And then they dry out and then you can't walk on them.That's what it was like yesterday. I had to take my boots off. And like I couldn't even walk this morning," said Hennigar.

For Fleming and Hennigar, it's simply a way of life. They just hope others don't follow in their painful footsteps.